Archive for January, 2013

Drip Irrigation for a Potager

January 15, 2013

Potager gardens have many advantages, but they do present a challenge when it comes time to irrigate. Aside from the wasteful effects of sprinklers that fling water through the air, my garden beds are divided by paths so setting up a hose-end sprinkler isn’t really an option.

Individual beds divided by pathways leads to watering challenges.

Individual beds divided by pathways leads to watering challenges.

I looked into drip irrigation systems and planned two zones, the left and right sides, and further divided those into separately controlled systems for each planting bed. This allows me to water each area for different amounts of time and more or less frequently depending on the needs of the plants in each bed. The image below shows an inaccurate draft of the initial plan and was used as a guide when buying the equipment. I ordered everything online from dripworks.com. They are very helpful! The plan below was adapted to include valves for each bed.

valves for left and right zones

valves for left and right zones

draft of irrigation plan

draft of irrigation plan

I used 1/2 inch black tubing (solid like a hose) for the main runs and 1/4 inch drip line (valves embedded in tubing and sized to allow a certain amount of water out). The valves are placed in the 1/2 black tubing at control points and the 1/4 inch tubing is inserted into the 1/2 tubes as needed.

Each watering zone is controlled by a valve.

valve to control flow

valve to control flow

A punch is used to insert the 1/4 inch drip tubing into the 1/2 inch solid hose at any point. The solid hose can cross pathways (just cover it with mulch to hide it from view) and carry water to the beds.

sold hose crossing path

solid hose crossing path

1/4 inch drip tubing irrigating a bed

1/4 inch drip tubing irrigating a bed

Installation is simple and only requires a few tools: scissors to cut the tubing; a punch for inserting dripline; and little thing to insert the caps or pointy ends on the dripline.

Bed-specific watering reduces waste and leads to beautiful harvests.

Bed-specific watering reduces waste and leads to beautiful harvests.